ION City Hotel Opens in Reykjavik, Iceland

ION City Hotel guestroom

There’s a sleek new outpost in Reykjavik in its soft-opening phase, ready to welcome explorers of Iceland’s vast beauty. Embodying the spirit of adventurous travel and cool Nordic design that dwells in its sister property Ion Adventure Hotel, the 18-room Ion City Hotel is the citified version of the original award-winning countryside retreat. Here, the same respect for Icelandic aesthetics and sourcing is evidenced, yet a melding with top international design firms means the city’s increasingly cosmopolitan nature is aptly-reflected. Located on the city’s main avenue Laugarvegur, Ion City’s deep local ties to its neighboring cafés, bars, restaurants, and galleries make it the perfect portal from which to explore the urban side of this fascinating destination. Further elevating this hotspot on the map, the North African-tinged restaurant Sumac will be helmed by the country’s culinary Olympic team director Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson, a veritable showcase of Iceland’s unique culinary prowess seen through a worldly lense for fresh perspective.

Housed in a smartly renovated building that retains its original architectural beauty, the façade has been playfully augmented by exterior walls that feature a motif inspired by traditional Icelandic weaving. Minarc, the same architecture and design duo responsible for Ion Adventure Hotel’s photogenic transformation, were tasked with the project. Childhood friends of Original Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir, the Iceland-born and California-based team took Sverrisdóttir’s mother’s Icelandic sweater pattern as inspiration, and through an experimental process have adhered textured aluminum panels to the concrete façade, re-creating the pattern as a respectful nod to historical elements via a thoroughly modern interpretation. This theme continues with the commission of an extensive outdoor mural by Krístin Morthens, the daughter of celebrated Icelandic artist Tolli Morthens. An inner alleyway and courtyard reveals an abstract expression of an Icelandic landscape for both guests of the hotel and the street passersby.
Inside, luxuriously organic interiors are defined by clean lines and a palette of gray and white, contrasted by warm-hued wooden floors. Here, a world of gunmetal grays, fine-grained recycled wood paneled walls, and international design pieces are bathed in light that spills in through enlarged windows that offer expansive panoramic views of Reykjavik.

The 18 rooms and suites range from the 20-square-meter Classic room to the 75-square-meter Panorama Suite, and all feature Bluetooth speakers. While the 20-square-meter Standard room and the 26-square-meter Deluxe room play host to a window-side sofa, the 30-square-meter Junior Suite boasts a balcony with a private sauna. The 44-square-meter City Suite features a French balcony, a private indoor sauna, and a living room with a dining table, while the Panorama Suite includes an indoor sauna, a powder room with a table and chair, a guest bathroom adjoining the living room, a dining table, and a bar area, with the option of a bartender or chef on request.

There’s a saying in this distant corner of the world that aptly corrects a common misnomer: “Greenland is ice and Iceland is green.” The important thing to take away here is that Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world, is a buzzing city with world-class restaurants, hip bars, and a killer music scene. Here, too, one finds a natural wonderland of geothermal pools, tall birches, and volcanic surroundings, framed by a canvas of white-topped mountains. Perhaps best of all, those who never want their day to end can revel in the fact that the city gets some 22 hours of daylight in summer.

The night comes alive in Reykjavik at such underground music spots as Paloma and live music venues like Hurra, while the country’s stellar Nordic cuisine can be enjoyed at Dill, Fiskfelagid, and many other must-visits. Daylight hours can be spent taking in the Harpa concert hall and the National and Saga museums–which tell the story of Iceland’s Viking history–and by visiting the striking concrete Hallgrimskirkja church and the rotating Perlan glass dome, which offers sweeping views of the sea, to name just a few of the wonders on tap here.

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